Ron Capps opened the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway with a bang, powering the Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) NAPA Filters Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT Funny Car to the provisional pole with his track record-setting run of 3.837 seconds at 339.28 mph in Friday night’s second provisional qualifying session.
With the run, Capps raised the bar for Funny Car class elapsed time and speed records at Maple Grove making the fastest run of his career and establishing the top speed by a Funny Car driver in 2019. The 2017 Reading champion opened qualifying with the fastest pass of the first session as well. Capps will lead the field back on track Saturday with two more qualifying sessions that will set the field for Sunday’s eliminations.
“I was just hoping to get the Countdown started on the right foot,” said Capps, a three-time Funny Car winner in 2019. “I didn’t expect it to be a 3.83 (elapsed time/seconds). To go 3.84 in that first lap, I knew (Rahn) Tobler was pretty apprehensive about what he was doing with the car. I felt like I almost had to pedal it that first lap, but it made it through there and put a cylinder out about 800 feet. We knew there was a lot there. And after seeing a couple high 3.80s and 3.90s early in that session, it paid off being at the back of the pack. This run, we have our new HELLCAT body really trimmed out and Tobler went outside of his comfort zone since we had such a good first run. I knew it was going to be a handful. I knew we were on a good run and was hoping we could repeat our first session run. When they told me after the run we went 3.83 at 339 (mph), that was pretty neat. Any record you set now in this new track prep era is special. It means more now to go 3.83 and to go 339 because we just don’t have the track prep and grip we used to have.”
Leah Pritchett made the best of the track conditions Friday evening racing the DSR Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster to a lap of 3.673 seconds at 332.92 mph to capture the No. 2 provisional qualifying position.
Dodge//SRT Mopar drivers Tommy Johnson, Jr. and Matt Hagan hold the third and fifth positions, respectively. Jim Campbell, Jack Beckman, Cruz Pedregon, and John Smith also have their Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT Funny Cars in the provisional field of 16.